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The dynamics of congressional popularity on Instagram

The dynamics of congressional popularity on Instagram The purpose of this paper to understand why some members of Congress have more Instagram followers, and why some Congressional Instagram posts receive more likes and comments.Design/methodology/approachThis study is based on a content analysis of every Instagram post shared by all members of Congress who were seated for the first six months of the 115th Congress (17,811 posts in all). Information was collected at both the account level, as well as at the level of the individual post. Variables were then created to predict a member's followers and a post's likes and comments using a series of regression models.FindingsThis paper finds that factors capturing real world influence best explain why some members have more followers on Instagram. Senators, members who have served longer in office, past or future presidential candidates, Congressional leaders and ideological extremists all had significantly more followers. This paper also shows that personal content such as family photos, personal photos, selfies and pet photos produces significantly more user responses, while impersonal content like text based posts produces fewer.Practical implicationsThis paper offers a general understanding of how anyone might maximize their user engagement on Instagram.Originality/valueLittle published research has studied how politicians use Instagram. This paper expands previous work examining influence on Twitter and Facebook. Further, these findings shed light on broader issues, including how social media reinforces existing power biases, and on the increasing trend towards personalization in American politics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Online Information Review Emerald Publishing

The dynamics of congressional popularity on Instagram

Online Information Review , Volume 44 (5): 17 – Aug 20, 2020

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1468-4527
DOI
10.1108/oir-11-2019-0358
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper to understand why some members of Congress have more Instagram followers, and why some Congressional Instagram posts receive more likes and comments.Design/methodology/approachThis study is based on a content analysis of every Instagram post shared by all members of Congress who were seated for the first six months of the 115th Congress (17,811 posts in all). Information was collected at both the account level, as well as at the level of the individual post. Variables were then created to predict a member's followers and a post's likes and comments using a series of regression models.FindingsThis paper finds that factors capturing real world influence best explain why some members have more followers on Instagram. Senators, members who have served longer in office, past or future presidential candidates, Congressional leaders and ideological extremists all had significantly more followers. This paper also shows that personal content such as family photos, personal photos, selfies and pet photos produces significantly more user responses, while impersonal content like text based posts produces fewer.Practical implicationsThis paper offers a general understanding of how anyone might maximize their user engagement on Instagram.Originality/valueLittle published research has studied how politicians use Instagram. This paper expands previous work examining influence on Twitter and Facebook. Further, these findings shed light on broader issues, including how social media reinforces existing power biases, and on the increasing trend towards personalization in American politics.

Journal

Online Information ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 20, 2020

Keywords: Instagram; Congress; Social media; User engagement; Online popularity

References